Flipside 026: Captured

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antnield
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Flipside 026: Captured

#1 Post by antnield » Mon Jan 28, 2013 10:32 am

John Krish's 1959 feature will join the Flipside in April.
John Krish’s previously unreleased Captured (1959) is an intricate and powerful PoW drama which was branded ‘restricted’ for over half a century. Originally intended only for the eyes of high-ranking military personnel, this is the first time that the film has been released to a general audience. Presented with a selection of other hard-hitting Krish films, including H.M.P., a 1978 documentary about the prison service, this set also includes the first ever High Definition presentations of some of his most unforgettable and effective warning films (including the chilling The Finishing Line) as well as a newly-shot interview with the director.

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zedz
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Re: Flipside 026: Captured

#2 Post by zedz » Mon Jan 28, 2013 5:06 pm

Fantastic news. The Finishing Line is such a gloriously sick film.

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Re: Flipside 026: Captured

#3 Post by MichaelB » Tue Jan 29, 2013 5:38 am

Three years or so ago, I was doing some research into COI productions at the National Archives in Kew, and came across the official government files for The Finishing Line. Most such files consisted of a handful of documents - correspondence, budgets, sometimes a script, but rarely much more - but The Finishing Line was massive, so much so that it needed two bulging folders to store everything.

Naturally, I had a good rummage, and discovered that they'd preserved all the complaints from outraged parents, questionnaire feedback, anguished internal correspondence, etc. etc. So I commissioned the whole lot to be scanned for the BFI's records, and was delighted to be able to pass on the resulting enormous PDF file to John Krish himself - who hadn't seen most of this stuff (as a director for hire, his involvement ended when production finished), and couldn't have been happier.

When I interviewed him shortly afterwards, he told me how the film came about: he was asked to pitch a project about rail safety, and deliberately came up with the most ludicrously violent and unfeasible idea imaginable, on the assumption that they wouldn't touch it with the proverbial barge pole. "And bugger me, they said yes - so I had to go and actually do it!" (I hope the Flipside booklet includes a similar first-person account - pretty likely, I'd have thought, as Krish has been a keen contributor to other projects).

I haven't seen Captured yet - I assume it's only recently been declassified (it deals with such sensitive material that for decades it could only be screened to Army personnel in the company of an approved senior officer - Krish couldn't even show it privately to potential producers and backers, which annoyed him greatly as he thought it was one of the best things he ever did) - but I can certainly recommend H.M.P, a very thoughtful study of how prisons work made just before the likes of Alan Clarke's Scum gave a very different impression.

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antnield
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Re: Flipside 026: Captured

#4 Post by antnield » Tue Jan 29, 2013 9:30 am

Patrick Russell quotes the Ministry of Defence's exact command in his chapter on Krish in Shadows of Progress:
This film will be shown only under the supervision of an experienced officer (major/captain) who will use the lecture notes issued with the film. The film may not be shown to recruits.
The film wasn't screened to the general public until a Krish retrospective at the BFI Southbank in 2004.

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Re: Flipside 026: Captured

#5 Post by MichaelB » Tue Jan 29, 2013 10:34 am

...which I believe was its only public airing until now.

It's safe to say that the Flipside is fulfilling its remit with this release: Captured wasn't just hard to see for over half a century, for the most part it was literally impossible without actually joining the army first. And even then it wasn't exactly easy!

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warren oates
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Re: Flipside 026: Captured

#6 Post by warren oates » Tue Jan 29, 2013 2:06 pm

I have a thing for banned books, films, etc. So I was already curious about this release before the appreciations of Krish's work by zedz and Michael, which sealed the deal for me. A definite blind buy.

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zedz
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Re: Flipside 026: Captured

#7 Post by zedz » Tue Jan 29, 2013 3:06 pm

Grab the already released Krish volume, warren, you won't regret it. He's a master filmmaker who just happened to be working in areas of filmmaking that were customarily ignored.

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MichaelB
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Re: Flipside 026: Captured

#8 Post by MichaelB » Wed Jan 30, 2013 6:15 am

If you just stick to the fiction feature filmography, Krish would be a not uninteresting but decidedly minor talent - The Unearthly Stranger (1963) is one of the more intelligent paranoid sci-fi films of the early 1960s, and I've heard good things about some of the others, but he doesn't seem to have had a very happy experience dealing with feature film producers.

By contrast, his more marginal work is often astonishing, as numerous BFI releases have already demonstrated - in addition to the dedicated Krish compilation, he's also featured on several COI and BTF discs, Shadows of Progress and doubtless others. I wasn't the least bit surprised to see him popping up on a Flipside release, although I'd have assumed it would be via one of the more conventional features - but this is absolutely not a complaint!

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MichaelB
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Re: Flipside 026: Captured

#9 Post by MichaelB » Thu Jan 31, 2013 7:31 am

Confirmed as region-free.

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antnield
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Re: Flipside 026: Captured

#10 Post by antnield » Sun Feb 10, 2013 5:30 pm

Amazon has listed the extras:

- Sewing Machine (John Krish, 1973, 1 min): a hard-hitting road safety filler from the COI
- Searching (John Krish, 1974, 1 min): a shocking fire safety filler from the COI
- H.M.P. (John Krish, 1978, 52 mins): compelling fly-on-the-wall documentary about the Prison service
- The Finishing Line (John Krish, 1977, 21 mins): a violent, dream-like public safety film intended to discourage children from trespassing on railway lines
- Shooting the Message: The films of John Krish (2013, 35 mins): an extensive interview with the director about his life and work
- Illustrated booklet with newly commissioned essays and contributions from James Taylor, Patrick Russell and Alex Davidson; original promotional artwork and full credits

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antnield
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Re: Flipside 026: Captured

#11 Post by antnield » Mon Mar 18, 2013 9:57 am


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MichaelB
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Re: Flipside 026: Captured

#12 Post by MichaelB » Mon Mar 18, 2013 11:47 am

...and the full specs:
BFI Flipside Presents
Captured
A restricted film by John Krish

Commissioned by the Army Kinema Corporation in 1959 as a military training film and previously only shown to a highly restricted audience of military officials, Captured is a realistic and sometimes disturbing prisoner of war drama. It demonstrates how British POWs responded to brainwashing and torture techniques during the Korean War, thereby revealing what a soldier could expect if he was ever captured by the communist enemy. It will be released by BFI Flipside on 15 April 2013 in a Dual Format edition (a DVD and Blu-ray disc) with extensive special features.

Written and directed by the acclaimed documentary auteur John Krish (The Elephant Will Never Forget, I Think They Call Him John), with all of his trademark lyricism and humanity, Captured is a haunting lost classic of post-war British cinema. It is presented here with a number of other Krish films all designed to warn, advise and inform. They are all transferred to High Definition from the very best available film materials.

H.M.P. (1976), one of the additional films here, is a riveting look at what it takes to be a prison officer. The Home Office approached the COI for a film that would encourage applicants while also improving wider appreciation of what the prison service offered. The film follows three recruits as they go inside a prison to learn more about the realities of the job, through meeting various members of staff, including the chaplain.

Also included on this release is a new interview with John Krish, in which he talks in-depth about his life and work. John was honoured with an Evening Standard Award for Best Documentary in 2010 for his widely acclaimed quartet of films, A Day in the Life: Four Portraits of Post-war Britain, which is released by the BFI in a Dual Format Edition.

Special Features
• Presented in both High Definition and Standard Definition;
Sewing Machine (John Krish, 1973, 1 min): hard-hitting road safety 'filler' from the COI;
Searching (John Krish, 1974, 1 min): shocking fire safety 'filler' from the COI;
• H.M.P. (John Krish, 1976, 52 mins): compelling fly-on-the-wall style recruitment film for the prison service;
The Finishing Line (John Krish, 1977, 21 mins): violent public safety film intended to discourage children from trespassing on railway lines;
Shooting the Message: The films of John Krish (2013, 35 mins): an extensive interview with the director about his life and work;
• Illustrated booklet with newly commissioned essays and contributions from James Piers Taylor, Patrick Russell, Stephen Thrower and Alex Davidson, and full credits.

Product Details
RRP: £19.99 / cat. no. BFIB1146 / Cert 15 / Flipside cat. no: 026
UK / 1959 / black and white / English language with optional hard-of-hearing subtitles / 62 mins / Original aspect ratio 1.33:1
Disc 1: BD50 / 1080p / 24fps / PCM mono audio (48k/24-bit)
Disc 2: DVD9 / PAL / Dolby Digital mono audio (320 kbps)

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htshell
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Re: Flipside 026: Captured

#13 Post by htshell » Mon Mar 18, 2013 8:42 pm

Looks like a great package

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Re: Flipside 026: Captured

#14 Post by MichaelB » Mon Apr 08, 2013 10:28 am

IDFilm on Captured (and You're Human Like the Rest of Them).

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Re: Flipside 026: Captured

#15 Post by MichaelB » Tue Apr 09, 2013 2:44 am


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antnield
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Re: Flipside 026: Captured

#16 Post by antnield » Fri Apr 26, 2013 11:16 am

Graeme Hobbs' MovieMail podcast (also transcribed).

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Re: Flipside 026: Captured

#17 Post by MichaelB » Sun May 05, 2013 3:11 am

Philip French in The Observer.

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knives
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Re: Flipside 026: Captured

#18 Post by knives » Sat May 11, 2013 6:53 pm

I'm not sure what I was expecting out of the main feature on this disc, but it is easily one of the best war narratives I've seen (and probably the best of this sort of prisoner camp film). For something made for a super specific sort of mixture of instruction and propaganda it's very much so alive with character and wit. The frustrations of the characters and how they express it are very real and sometimes rather unnerving though Krish adds tons of humour to situations that probably wouldn't have it in a normal film. That whole torture thing that composes the second half of the film is genuinely awful feeling and I can't imagine the shock military personal would have watching it yet Krish continually lets the film breath and relax in the face of its runtime. It's also really gorgeous. I wonder how much restoration was needed to go into this since the image is basically perfect with next to no dusty bits. Krish is always a genius with shadows, but the way he lights the faces of the captured, especially in the cheeks, is outdoing himself on a whole new level. I'm real glad that BFI was able to wrangle this free.

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zedz
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Re: Flipside 026: Captured

#19 Post by zedz » Sun Jun 23, 2013 11:55 pm

A fantastic film. In the fifties, two talented makers of shorts kicked off their feature careers with hour-long, ultra-low budget (and later suppressed) psychological war movies. Kubrick's was a steaming pile; Krish's is a masterpiece. I even think Captured is a better looking film than Fear and Desire, which was about all the latter had going for it.

The rest of the package is terrific as well, particularly the lengthy doc HMP (which I don't believe was previously available anywhere). It makes a perfect companion to the previous Krish Blu.

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knives
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Re: Flipside 026: Captured

#20 Post by knives » Mon Jun 24, 2013 1:57 am

I have to admit the minute long shorts knocked me out the hardest. Krish does economical horror really well.

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Re: Flipside 026: Captured

#21 Post by MichaelB » Mon Jun 24, 2013 2:42 am

Fangoria joins Krish's fan club (mainly in connection with The Finishing Line, unsurprisingly).

The centrepiece is a terrific interview with Krish, who rose magnificently to the occasion: " I’m the only documentary director who’s had four films banned! And I rejoice in that."

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zedz
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Re: Flipside 026: Captured

#22 Post by zedz » Mon Jun 24, 2013 4:07 pm

Krish sure gives good interview. And kudos to Fangoria for delving beyond the nominal 'horror' film.

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Re: Flipside 026: Captured

#23 Post by The Doogster » Tue Jun 25, 2013 2:51 am

I just watched Captured and all the supplements. Everything on this disk is brilliant. The Finishing Line is one of the most f***ed up things I've ever seen on celluloid. It looks like something the writers of South Park would come up with. John Krish must have forgotten to take his meds when he made that film. And Searching is like some sort of opium nightmare. Nothing like this can be made nowadays because the Health & Safety Police wouldn't allow it.

I've got quite a few BFI Flipside releases, and while I've yet to be disappointed by any of them, this ranks near the top (probably equal to Requiem For A Village).

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Re: Flipside 026: Captured

#24 Post by MichaelB » Tue Jun 25, 2013 5:55 am

The Doogster wrote:Nothing like this can be made nowadays because the Health & Safety Police wouldn't allow it.
Well, the Health & Safety Police did pay for most of these films in the first place...

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Re: Flipside 026: Captured

#25 Post by The Doogster » Tue Jun 25, 2013 6:42 pm

MichaelB wrote:Well, the Health & Safety Police did pay for most of these films in the first place...
I know - I was being ironic. The Health & Safety Police in today's world would view the content as being worse than the message it is trying to convey.

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